From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

From the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” Department. One of my favorite reads on the Internet is ArabNews.com, the website for Saudi Arabia’s first English-language newspaper. One of the accusations often made against websites like MEMRI is that they offer deliberately biased translations, or even mistranslations, from the non-English media of the Middle East in an attempt to paint an unfair or inaccurate depiction of what gets printed in the media throughout the region. I’ve never seen such accusations substantiated, of course, but claims of inaccurate or unfair translation seem to be a favorite tactic among those who object to MEMRI and other such sources reprinting translated versions of repugnant articles first published in Middle Eastern newspapers. You would think folks would be more concerned that outlets like MEMRI have so many articles and state-controlled resources to choose from, but perhaps it's just easier to attack the messenger.

The good thing about ArabNews is that it’s all in English, so when the Saudi government controlled paper publishes articles by the likes of David Duke and Michael Collins Piper , the evidence is all there in English, and no protestations or excuses can be made about supposedly unfair or inaccurate translations. Usually the ArabNews seems to try to present a moderate front—it’s being read across the globe, especially among Westerners and Americans, after all—but quite often they slip up and show what’s behind the veil of moderation. Be it a heinously anti-American cartoon, a hateful anti-Semitic caricature, a creepy editorial, or a bizarre letter to the editors, there’s generally something (and often more than that) to make one wonder, if this is what the Saudi media prints in English to show the world how progressive and enlightened their country is, what might they be printing in Arabic? Take the following repugnant, hate-filled letter to the editor in the November 22 edition, for example. It’s entitled “Zionist Game,” but one wonders what game the Saudis are playing by using their government-controlled media to disseminate such garbage.

The Baath Party in Iraq was created by the Zionists in France. It is dead against Muslims and Islam. Saddam is a leader of the Baath Party and was used by Zionists to attack Iran. The Iraq-Iran war was facilitated to sell US weapons to both warring parties and make a lot of money from both sides. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people perished in the war.

Later, the Zionists used Saddam to attack Kuwait, and again it was Zionist arms manufacturers in the United States that made billions of dollars from the war.

Because Zionists control media, they can make anyone a hero and blow anything out of proportion. Although President Bush has lied more than Nixon, nothing has happened to him because he enjoys the support of Zionists. President Clinton had survived despite sexual misadventures because his mother and wife were Zionists. He appointed more Zionists in key positions than any other previous American president. They included one die-hard Israeli agent who was first granted USA citizenship in three days and later appointed US ambassador to Israel. So it is all Zionist game.

Anwarul Haque • Islamabad, published 22 November 2003

Saddam Hussein, Zionist agent. Who knew? You just can’t make this stuff up, folks. But imagine a country where such rot is routine fare in the government-controlled media, and you have the wonderfully progressive Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With friends like this...

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